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Unemployment drops, but 3,900 people still lose their jobs in NJ

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3,900 people lost their jobs in New Jersey in January even though the unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent in January from 7.2 percent in December, according to preliminary data the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week.

The unemployment rate has dropped two points since last year from 8.9 percent.

Report showed a 5,600 job increase from last January, even though Current members of the state have lost 3,900 jobs in January.

"The revisions reveal that unemployment has been on a steady downtrend for quite a while," said Charles Steindel, Chief Economist for the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development released “benchmarked” revisions to the earlier 2013 data which showed that New Jersey may have only gained 10,100 jobs last year. The revisions report an increase of 8,700 jobs to 18,800 jobs added in New Jersey.

The unemployment rate is a hot topic in the state legislature. Several bills aimed at reducing unemployment will not only help to create jobs, but also increase worker’s rights.

A bill sponsored by President Stephen Sweeney, “New Jobs for New Jersey,” will give business employees tax credits for hiring people that have been unemployed for at least a month.

The bill was approved on Monday 3-0 with 2 abstentions.

In an attempt to reduce discrimination, employers would no longer be able to base hiring decisions on an employment status under bill S1440.

"What we had was another year, 2013, of marking time," Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at Roseland-based accounting firm J.H. Cohn said. "Had it not been for the continued shrinkage of the state's labor force, the unemployment rate in January would have been 8.9 percent - identical to what it was a year ago," he said.

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